Posts Tagged 'Police'



Surprisingly, NY Perps Sport Yankees Caps


Source: NYPD

Calling it a “curious phenomenon,” the New York Times is reporting that “dozens of men and women who have robbed, beaten, stabbed and shot at their fellow New Yorkers have done so while wearing Yankees caps or clothing.”

(This is sort of like when the Times tries to make a trend story out of three people they find feeling one way or doing a particular activity — like women who embrace their A-cup status.)

It’s a big joke. What do they expect from people in New York … green Celtics caps? I’m sure they’re wearing Yankees or Mets t-shirts, too, because guess what? People usually wear their hometown sports team gear.

I wonder if the NYPD will start unlawfully harassing Yankees cap wearers just like they do with photographers….

Article from New York Times

LAPD Sergeant Fires Away on YouTube

While YouTube is great fun for silly cat videos and clips of kids freaking out after the dentist, it’s also fertile ground for angry, arrogant, illiterate people. Exhibit A:

“your a dick ? what would u wanna video/pictures? a dead guy.. what the fuck are you gona do with the video of a dead guy.. get a life you fuking cunt,”

Interestingly, the comment was left by AbawiTariq, a sergeant with the LAPD, according to his YouTube profile.

Nothing but the best in Los Angeles. Seriously, Chief Beck – that is who you want representing your force?


More Bay Area Police Wearing Cameras

Calling it an “unstoppable” trend, the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that police in the Bay Area have jumped on board the wearable camera wagon. (We’ve posted on Vievus before – they’re devices you can clip to your bag or shirt to capture your perspective for four hours.) Law enforcement have come to see the devices as protection — a way they can “show their side” in a “YouTube society,” as Officer Ronnie Lopez of the San Jose Police Department put it.

I agree. Ain’t nothing wrong with both sides having video evidence of what went down during an incident.

There are considerations though. On the suspect’s (or “person of interest”) side, can the police be trusted not to delete or alter footage? And on the officers’ side, will the use of video inhibit them or make them apprehensive about using force even when it’s necessary? (See Seattle cop punching jaywalker and all the uproar that provoked.)

As Brentwood (CA) Officer George Aguirre said:

“I’d rather you see what I did than hear accusations,” said Aguirre, who does traffic enforcement on a motorcycle and commercial vehicle enforcement in a truck. “When you do everything you’re supposed to do and someone challenges you, there’s nothing better than being able to show the video to them or my supervisors.”

Article from San Francisco Chronicle

MSM Backs Photographers’ Rights

Photographer Jerome Vorus’ July 3rd encounter with DC police on a Georgetown street has gotten a lot of traction in the media, with reports on WashingtonPost.com, NBC Washington, Reason magazine’s blogWe Love DC and DCist, among others. It surprised me because, if you follow these things, it was a pretty run of the mill event. Maddening, ridiculous,probably  illegal, yes — but pretty standard.

But for some reason the media really jumped on it. And the more mainstream outlets that highlight the absurdity of this harassment, the more likely police departments will review their policies and educate their officers.

On a related note, in an editorial yesterday, USA Today came out in support of the rights of citizens to film police activity. (Be sure to also read the counter point from the police union. Overall, I just don’t buy the “these videos must be viewed in context in order to be understood” argument. I think the Oscar Grant killing, the Times Square cyclist attacks and the UMD beatings, to name a few recent ones, all stand on their own.)

Oakland PD Lifts Flickr Looting Photos


Photo by Thomas Hawk

Photographer and blogger Thomas Hawk is helping the Oakland Police Department apprehend looters. He didn’t agree to that, mind you. When reading a San Francisco Chronicle article about police trying to track down looting suspects in the aftermath of BART cop Johannes Mehserle’s manslaughter conviction, Hawk recognized his own photos in the batch. It seems that, to aid their police work, the Oakland PD took photos off Flickr from the riots and released them to the media.

The legal issue here is hazy – at least Hawk’s photos were under Creative Commons, which means people are able “to copy, distribute and transmit the work” with the condition that attribution is given. But the Oakland PD did not give attribution and, seemingly, released them as their own. To cover themselves, the Chronicle uses the credit “Obtained from Oakland Police.”  

Does it seem weird to you that law enforcement are essentially breaking copyright law to aid in their police work? How hard would it have been to include the photographers’ names with the photos?

Post from Thomas Hawk

Why Do Cops Hate Cameras?


Photo by JH

Photographer Jerome Vorus’s exchange with the DC police a few weeks back is getting some play in the DC media, and now Washington Post writer Annys Shin is looking into the topic of police and photography. In a “Story Lab” post she asks, “Why do police hate getting their picture taken?” It’s a good question. If you’re BART cop Johannes Mehserle, it might be because you don’t want any evidence if you just happen to break the law. (Although video didn’t help that New York City bicyclist who got pummeled by the rookie cop in Times Square.)

The DCPD have no excuse though. They’re just misinformed. And misinformation + arrogance = abuse of power.

Shin (shina AT washpost.com) wants to hear from you if you’ve been harassed or detained while taking photos of police, government buildings and the like in the DC metro area.

App Allows Cops to ID Criminals Instantly

Police in Brockton, Mass., will be the first in the country to have a powerful technological tool at their disposal — an iPhone app that allows them to snap photos of suspects and immediately learn who they are and their criminal history. It’s all part of a facial recognition system, known as MORIS, that uses biometrics to check the photo against a database of existing criminals in mere seconds.

While the novelty of technology is always exciting, I would think some serious thought is going to have to be given to when and how this app is used. Brockton Police Chief William Conlon says, “We are not going to just randomly stop people. It will be used when someone has done something.” But some major civil liberties concerns are raised here, and there is no doubt people will question the constitutionality of such an intrusive device in the context of the Fourth Amendment.

Article from Patriot Ledger (via Switched)

Seattle Cop Punches Jaywalker

UPDATE: The president of the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild has reviewed the footage and determined the officer’s actions were justified considering the situation.

Seattle PD will do what it takes to bring jaywalkers to justice — even if it means punching one out and instigating an assault investigation.

Ah, the joys of cell phone cameras.

LAPD Unlawfully Detains Photographer

The above video was recorded on February 21, 2010 in Hollywood, CA. As you will see from the footage, the officer’s behavior is deeply disturbing and should cause alarm within the Los Angeles Police Department.

And despite what the officer claims in the video, it is completely legal to photograph and videotape anybody, including police officers, when an expectation of privacy does not exist. It is the public’s right to photograph and record police activity that occurs on our streets and in our neighborhoods, and we should not be subjected to verbal assaults, illegal detainment, or threatened with an unlawful arrest if we choose to do so.

This encounter could have been a non-issue.

To voice your concerns regarding this officer’s behavior, contact the following individuals and offices:

Internal Affairs – Los Angeles Police Department
304 South Broadway, Suite 215
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Office: 213-485-1486
Fax: 213-473-6420

Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles
Email: mayor@lacity.org

Eric Garcetti, City Council President
5500 Hollywood Blvd., 4th Floor
Hollywood, CA 90028
Phone: 323-957-4500
Email: councilmember.garcetti@lacity.org

Tom LaBonge, Councilmember, District 4
Hollywood Field Office
6501 Fountain Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Phone: (323) 957-6415
Email: councilmember.labonge@lacity.org

When the News Becomes the News



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